Chances are, even if you really love your current job, that you want to develop your career. You would like more responsibility, more opportunity - even if you still want to be flying the plane, or closing the deal, or writing the code or whatever.
And of course, plenty of us are actually thinking, “this isn’t quite it…” (or possibly even, “what on earth am I doing in this horrible job???”). So whatever your current position, you probably want to develop yourself, your technical or leadership skills and your whole career.
Let me tell you the keys I have discovered, and then point you to a fabulous way to access those keys, right now, today.
The first key is “understand what motivates you”. No really, it isn’t money. I am talking about what matters to you, the kinds of activities that make you think “this is what I was born for…” If you are still thinking that is just money, then I am pretty sure you need this insight more urgently than anyone. (You probably also need some help with your finances as well, but the two are not unrelated.) When your career aligns with what you love to do, it stops feeling like “hard work” and starts feeling like fun - fun that you are willing to work hard at enjoying. (Get the difference?)
The second key is “know how you see the world”. Everyone has a different take on how we think the world around us is meant to work, and our reactive responses - unhappiness, anger, stress, disappointment - are all to do with the gap between what we expect and what actually happens. There is nothing wrong with how you see the world, as long as you know what that is. Knowing that stuff, means you can factor it in and manage your responses to things, events and people. Most of us don’t know and can’t easily manage.
The third key is “know how you see yourself”. Actually, you know how you see yourself: what I really mean is, know where that puts you on the map of normal human behaviour. For example, you may be thinking, “I just get on and do stuff, and so do all right thinking people.” News flash - depending on how you count, that would put you in a group with maybe 10-20% of the population. There would be a huge majority of the population who are pretty sure that you (assuming that is how you see yourself) should think a little more before you act. Not saying there is anything wrong with how you or anyone else sees themselves: but no one defines normal by themselves, not even you!
If you want a fourth key, it might be “have some idea who you actually resemble, career wise”. This one I want to soft-pedal a little. Just because you resemble a marine biologist, doesn’t mean throw in your job as a CEO and strap on your tanks (although, just mentioning that might be enough to make you say “why am I doing this when I could be doing that?”). But it can wake you up to some of your developmental options. Just because you followed a particular course of education and early employment, doesn’t mean that is who you are. Breathe a little. Get the bigger view.
So: how to access those four keys?
My general answer is, find a Birkman Method Consultant, and get them to take you through the Birkman process. Yes, we run a Birkman Consultancy business but the world is full of Birkman Consultants (go to birkman.com to find out how to locate one), and Birkman is by several (hundred) country miles, simply the best tool of any kind for understanding yourself and how you fit into the wider world, especially with regard to those four keys. Do it.
But if you are young, in work and just needing to get started on managing yourself, we have an interactive, cloud-based platform that can get you started with all that amazing Birkman insight, at a fraction of the usual cost. It won’t give you the 9 most detailed behavioural scores - that’s where you need a skilled Consultant working with you - but you still get over 250 pieces of data, specifically about you, and covering motivation, how you see the world, how you see yourself and who you most (and least) resemble. Which is probably enough to get started with!
You can find out more about our expresso platform at kokkoi.com/expresso
Written by Jon Mason